Perform a Google search on “Pope Lick Monster,” and you won’t find all that much as it relates to the beer being presented. What you will find, though, is some talk about a legendary creature in the form of a goatman that lived under a railroad trestle near Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, Ken. That’s all well and good, I suppose, but at first glance that doesn’t get us any closer to figuring out why the Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, Penn. chose this name for a beer.
Poke around a bit more, though, and you find that Pope Lick Monster was apparently the first beer in Tired Hands’ Halloween Cryptozoology series. According to an event post on their website, this line of “strange, forward thinking brews” was inspired by some of the brewery’s favorite cryptozoological creatures, with each being released in October of this year. Others include:
- Mananangal — pear cider gose — 6.2 percent ABV
- Grassman — DIPA — 8.7 percent ABV
- Dobhar-chú — squash-infused extra special bitter — 4.2 percent ABV
- The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp — Simcoe pale ale — 6.2 percent ABV
- Chupacabra — robust mole stout — 6.6 percent ABV
Now, while it may sound like a beast of a beer , Pope Lick Monster isn’t nearly as foreboding as its name implies. In fact, you have to almost wake it up a little after you open it, since it requires a somewhat aggressive pour to get any level of head formation whatsoever. Even then the foam is fleeting, as it quickly fades leaving you with a rather still looking dark brown beer.
Aromas of roasted malt and cocoa power are present, if not particularly perky, but things pick up a bit during the taste. The aforementioned flavors are more forward on the tongue, joined by elements of burnt sugar, coffee, licorice and a hint of dark fruit.
The highest concentration of flavor, though, happens more towards the finish. It’s there that the mix takes on a character I would describe as most like that of devil’s food cake. That might suggest there’s a level of density with regards to texture, but other than a slightly chewy palate that’s really not the case. The beer is medium-bodied and quite drinkable, ending somewhat dry with mild bitterness and a lightly lingering aftertaste.